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please explain to us the throat issue post surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
hi all /

most of you talk about the knife in the throat. how did u deal with that? and were you able to breathe through your throat or was it too dry?

were you able to sit up from the hospital bed like...to go to the bathroom or was it too painful ?


  • I have not had my surgery yet. As I understand it, during anterior cervical surgery everything is moved aside to access the spine. Therefore, many have squeaky voices and sore throats post surgery as everything is healing.
  • when i had my surgery i can't say that i had pain in my throat.i found that the muscles there were very weak and made my voice go funny,but after a few weeks they strengthened again and i was fine. right after the surgery i found i had more trouble with the pressure of my head on my neck.i couldn't stay verticle for two long or the pain would get bad.I had no trouble with go to the washroom afterwards either.the catheter came out and i was fine after that.
  • I think it was about 6 hours after surgery and i was up to the restroom and then on to eat a roast beef sandwich. I did continue the entire time to eat ice chips. My throat actually swelled several days later but that was has more to do with the use of BMP and not from the incision. I was told on the first surgery that i wouldn't be able to talk for a week and on that surgery i was fine immediately following surgery. They will want to get you up moving as soon as possible.
  • I had cervical surgery on July 11,2008. C-2 thru T-2. So this was a biggggg surgery. The NS took one of my ribs from my right side to fill in. I have 2 long rods on each side of my spinal cord with clamps top and bottom.
    This was a 6 1/2 hour surgery. I have had a lot of pain, but it is the surgery pain. The pain I had leading up to the surgery is gone. I ate anything I wanted afterward, but I just didn't want anything. This surgery was a "re-do" from the two previous cervical surgeries. I have fusions with cages and screws and a plate. Those fusions never fused. Maybe because of the donar bone instead of mine, so maybe this one will work. Have a Nurosurgeon instead of a ortho doc this time.
    I am to have my lumbar back redone in October also. Sure hope it goes as well as this one.
    Thanks to all for your informative posts.
    Molly in Texas
  • that sounds like a huge operation.How are you feeling? i had three levels done and three months later i'm still having some pain.i can't imagine having another operation so soon after that one.What's wrong with your lower back?
  • wait a minute...everyone gets a catheter? you mean....no way
  • They had my catheter out before I woke from surgery. But...I had to have it put back in later that night cuz I was unable to pee. That's caused by the anestetic (sp?). Same thing happened a week ago with my abdominal surgery...so maybe its just me. :(

    I had virtually no problem with my throat as far as pain or hoarsness after surgery. Swallowing was a bit difficult because of the neck muscles being stretched.

  • I found out I had a catheter too right after surgery when they took it out. Imagine the surprise when they did. LOL.

    As far as swallowing, I'm having a little difficulty this week with swallowing for some reason, again, I called the DO's office and the nurse said it's normal for this to happen. I'm 4 weeks post op.

    Any one else have this problem at the time frame I am? My voice is a little raspy as well.
  • does everyone get a catheter? i remember having problems urinating too during a surgery i had 7 years ago. does it hurt?????

    as far the throat or swallowing goes, could you at least breathe through your mouth? that's scary.
  • um...how does that work on a woman? does it stop you from needing to go to the bathroom?
  • I didn't have any trouble breathing thru my mouth. I had to use one of those breathing exercise machines for each hour for the first 24 hours. I'm guessing so the anesthetic could be pushed out of my lungs.

    It's not hard to swallow, it's just a weird feeling I'm having when I do.

    Don't be scared...this forum was a lot of help for me to get ready for the surgery and on the day of surgery, I was pretty at ease.

    Just keep a positive attitude!!
  • I am now, like Jeff, four weeks out from surgery and like Jeff having a bit of trouble swallowing. Feels like something stuck in my throat. Other than that all is well. It must be a normal thing with swallowing I suppose. Breathing hasn't been any problem.

    My issue is still not sleeping. The pain over the past few years kept me up and now that I am pain free, at least in my neck and arm, I think my sleep cycle is off. I would love to get even a good 6 hours!

  • I can tell you are nervous about the whole experience. I just wanted to encourage you to keep asking questions. It may seem like something small to one, but it may be huge to you.

    Catheters and surgery are very routine. If your surgery is set to last more than 2 hours, I think they automatically do a catheter. Maybe it just depends patient to patient. But, you will not be awake when they insert it, and removing it is not bad either. Just don't try to jerk it out!!!!! I don't know how they do a man's catheter, but a woman's has a balloon type thing in it that once it is inserted, the balloon is pumped up to make sure that it can't be pulled out. When the time comes to remove it, they just deflate the "balloon" and it slides right out. I would assume there must be a similar method for men.

    Swallowing...I really haven't had a sore throat after on either of my surgeries. I did want something cool a few times just to soothe it, but it wasn't real painful. Some people have really bad sore throats, others can eat anything they want afterwards. Maybe it depends on doctor skill, or what level they are working on. Just keep in mind that to do an anterior approach, they do an incision along a natural creaseline in your neck, and then they (hopefully very gently) move your esophagus and stuff out of the way so that they can get to your c-spine. The esophagus is VERY thin, and the manipulation that occurs during this surgery is not easy on an esophagus. People will oftentimes have a feeling of something "stuck" in their throat. My doc said it would feel like I swallowed a golf ball. Didn't feel that way for me either time though. But it does feel like I have a bit of gunk stuck in my throat. Not bad though.

    My voice was weak after my first surgery, but I haven't noticed any problems with this one. First time around, I could speak with no problems, but if I tried to raise my voice, I just squeaked. And singing was way off key! Hey, it still is, at least I have an excuse, lol.

    I do have a sensation like I feel the plate in my throat when I am laying on my back. I think it is probably just scar tissue, because it is just starting now. had it last time too and it was so nice to wake up from this surgery with that feeling gone. It is a bummer that it is back. But scar tissue forms as you try to heal, so it is all part of the game.

    Try not to worry too much. Ask any other questions and i'll give it a shot if I know the answer, at least my answer in how it correlates with my situation.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • this is embarrasing, but i worry about not being able to pee after. could u???
    and also, could you sit up and walk to the bathroom when you woke up??
    in recovery, when you woke up, was someone there?? did u have to go to the bathroom?
    ok. so u probably think i'm nuts, but i had surgery 8 years ago, and i remember when i woke up in recovery there was no one there and i was screaming, "i have to pee" and noone helped me...it was HORRIBLE...
  • I had some extenuating circumstances with the bladder stuff, so my answer would not be relevant to your question. However, there should always be someone close by when you are in recovery. The reason they keep you in "recovery" is because they will be monitoring you until you are stable enough to move to your own room. A nurse will be right there, so just let her/him know that you need help. Sometimes anesthesia makes people nauseated and a nurse is ALWAYS ready to help you with issues like that. Try not to worry too much. I can't tell you whether you will have problems "peeing" after surgery, but if you do, the nurses will know how to help you. Most likely you won't have a problem. Ask your doctor about this if you are worried. Ask them if they will keep the catheter in longer until you feel strong enough to be up and around. It never hurts to ask.

    Also, you should be able to sit up and walk to the bathroom. but don't do it on your own. make sure a nurse helps you get up the first few times.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I woke up with my voice weakened - sound like Minnie Mouse. It continues but is slowly getting better. At my post-op visit I was told a nerve to my vocal cords has been irritated. I had very little sore throat but do feel like there is a lump in there. I know this will pass and I have not had any real problems swallowing. I spent one night in hospital and had no problem getting up to the bathroom (with help!) and very little pain - more discomfort than anything else. I also had a headache and some nausea which I received medication for.
  • Before they wheeled me into the OR my nurse asked if I needed to go to the restroom. Since they had been pumping fluids into my body almost 2 hours before the surgery yes I had to go. Since I went tot he restroom right before the surgery I didn't have to have a catheter.(Thank the Lord---cuz I hate those things!!!) Yes, on a woman it does take away the urge to urinate since the tube is already in the bladder the waste just flows into a bag.) As for the throat thing my throat was sore some, but now its just swollen and I still have diffuculty swallowing foods and pills, but it seems like it is starting to get better now. Yes, I was able to breathe through my throat even though my throat was very dry thank goodness my hubby fed me ice chips for a while right after surgery cuz I wasn't able to sit up real good yet.(Still was very groggy from the anesthesia and morphine for pain.)
  • dhoward yes i had numerous nurses just for me in recovery. they were immediately asking me if i had pain and yes i did my pain was pretty bad so they immediatly gave me a hefty dose of morphine in my iv. i did use the rest room a few hours after they put me in my room and my hubby had to help me cuz i was just like babmbi on new legs i was very shaky. dhoward you are not nuts!!!! believe me even though i am almost 2 weeks post op i still have questions and concerns so please don't hesitate to ask!!!!
  • you guys are so supportive. you don't know how badly i need that. my mom is so jugmental and opnionated so there'n no compassion there. and i can't show much emotion around my husband cause it effects him too much and he has to hold down a job cause i got laid off in march and haven't worked since and won't be able to until after the surgery. we are struggling alittle financially.

    anyway, all your advice has been great. it makes me feel alot better. bad experience last time i guess w/the nurses. they were bad...noone was there when i woke up and they were nasty.

    so i will ask for a catheter as long as it doesn't hurt when they take it out. i'll probably need it until after i wake up in recovery. how long does it take to wake up? and i'll ask for nausea med's cause last time i was throwing up for hours and it was mostly bloody. (gross). i don't want to throw up cause it'll go through the throat and maybe infect it???
    i pray my doctor is that good that i won't have much pain.
    and, the thing in your throat like a gold ball, does it go away???
    and, did the pain u had before surgery go away??? and did u have NEW pains? and if so, did that go away?
  • well dhoward i do believe my feeling of having a golf ball in my throat is going away becuase its not as bad as it was even though i do still have problems swallowing pills and foods that aren't soft. as far as old/new pains go i do still have the numbness and tingling in my right hand/arm to a degree (that could be from the nerves trying to heal though too) i do have some new pains on my left side that i didnt have before the surgery so i am gonna discuss this with my surgeon on wednesday at my 2 week post op appointment. dhoward honey don't ever be afraid to express how you feel!!! atleast those of us on this message board knows how everyone else feels so please always talk to us if you need to!!!! :)
  • two days of catheter - actually, pretty convenient, since frankly, I did not want to get up!!

    many days of "knife in throat." morphine and chloroseptic spray helped, but it was really the worst part of the post-op experience for me. though the milkshakes and mashed potatoes for the next few weeks - those were OK. ;) and god I lost a lot of weight.

    "golf ball" lasted a while. I am five months out and find that I can only take Viactiv vitamins which are really easy to swallow. but big vitamins are really the only swallowing issue I have.
  • Hi guys,

    After reading your posts, I thought I'd chime in too. I'm six weeks postop and besides the pinching feeling in my shoulders when working at my computer, the only lingering nuisance is swallowing large pills and also when I try and lift something that I think I can, I get that "knife" down my throat feeling. You know I feel good, so I tend to think I'm wonderwoman and can do/lift anything. It's really hard with a 10# weight limit. And as much as I hate wearing this Aspen collar and the soft collar, I do reach for it quite often when I feel my neck is really tired. Almost a feeling of my head is too heavy. The nurse attributes it all to the lack of use of the muscles in my shoulders and says that'll all go away once restrictions are lifted and I resume more of my normal activities. I'm just impatient, I suppose.

    Hope this helps.

    Y'all have a good day.

  • I literally was choking on a pain pill this morning. I was gasping for breath and started freaking out. My poor 12 year old flipped out as well. I finally got the pill to go down though. I swear some days pills/food get stuck on the left side but on other days its the right side. All I know is I was one scared gal earlier.
  • hello i had alot of throat pain , ice was the best for me, i baught a ton of gel ice bags and iced my entire neck for weeks after.( i put a mini fridge in my room that has a little freezer , makes it so much more conveinent.)
  • hello i had alot of throat pain , ice was the best for me, i baught a ton of gel ice bags and iced my entire neck for weeks after.( i put a mini fridge in my room that has a little freezer , makes it so much more conveinent.)
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